Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Occu-Pee / Occu-pie

Tonight, as Starhawk, Eddy and I are finishing up planning the last details of the Non-Violence Direct Action Training we're teaching with a local DC organizer, Jason is talking on the phone with local farmers.

For some reason, he's having a hard time getting them to accept the offer of our very nitrogen-rich, urine soaked straw bales.

At this point, they are actually just theoretically urine-soaked straw bales.  Apparently, we don't yet own said straw bales, nor have we rented the truck we'd need to haul them to and from the event.

"Hello?  Oh, hi, my name is Jason and I got your number from so-and-so, who said you might be able to help us... You see, we have these straw bales we'd like to give you for your crops... no, no, they don't have any fire retardant in them... they have urine.  No, not my urine.  I don't know who's.  It's for this thing down at the plaza.  It could be anyone's."

Later, Jason tells us that he can hear the guy on the other end of the line, muffled because his hand is over the receiver, calling to his wife upstairs.  "Get a load of this," he says.  "This guy's calling to give us a bunch of straw soaked in pee."

Jason is shaking his head as he's telling us this, as if it's the weirdest thing in the world that the farmer won't take humanure from the masses.  Starhawk, across the kitchen table with her usual midnight cup of tea in front of her, is positively cackling in delight.  I don't blame her -- I'm laughing so hard that I feel like I might pee right then and there, straw or no.

"I tried calling a bunch of people, but none of them would take it," he says.  "You know, it's the hardest thing in the world out here on the East Coast, trying to get someone to take your pee-straw."

He has this deadpan way of saying these things that occasionally gets me even after all of these years, and poor Eddy is quite often deceived by it.  "You're not in the Bay Area anymore," she says, seemingly earnest.

"I think if I could just finish explaining to them what a valuable resource it is, they'd be overjoyed," he says, still deadpan, no mercy.  "They might even offer to pick it up themselves so we don't have to shlep it all the way down there."

This discussion eventually devolves into a conversation about Home De-poo, where you can drop off your humanure and get paid for it, and the Pagan Cluster's new affinity group Occu-pee, who's mission is to create a place for folks on Freedom Plaza (where the Stop the Machine encampment is) and McPherson Square (where #OccupyKSt is) to relieve themselves in an ecologically beneficial way.

Personally, I'm not all that into Occu-pee, but as the night winds later and later, I find myself getting rather excited about the idea of Occu-pie.  Occu-pie was originally conceived as a way to keep folks who want to put the lid on the Occupy Together actions' recent flood of popular media as folks have become more and more convinced that anything with the word "Occupy" in it is being systematically negated within internet search engines like google and yahoo.  That may or may not be true, but the real treasure in the solution that more savvy and paranoid individuals than I have come up with is the possibility it presents for some serious kitchen-witchery-activism.  I'm imaging a sweet cob oven arrangement at Freedom Plaza that could serve up Occu-pie Pecan, Occu-pie Dutch Apple, and of course, Occu-pie Chocolate Mousse.  If we had Occu-pie Chocolate Mousse (gluten-free Occu-pie, of course), I'd feel pretty darn happy about being there whether or not it was for a good cause.

Soon all four of us are holding our sides laughing, probably keeping up the upstairs roommates who had enough sense to go to bed early.

Given it's the night before the big action, it only makes sense that you'd want to sleep, but as with many Action-eves, I find it hard to feel sleepy.  The giddy, zany laughter and discussion is the only thing I can imagine working for me right now -- it takes the edge off of my nervousness.  There's still so much we don't have planned, and so many dreams still to realize.  Is it really starting tomorrow?  Will our sacred waters purification system work?  Will we have enough pretty altar cloths and prayer flags to create the space we want for healing and ritual and magic?  How many people will come?  What will we do once we get there?

And, of course, will we have a place to pee?

No one can say for sure -- it's all a mystery.  For now, stay tuned.

In love and solidarity,


  1. Re "Starhawk, across the kitchen table with her usual midnight cup of tea in front of her, is positively cackling in delight. I don't blame her -- I'm laughing so hard that I feel like I might pee right then and there, straw or no."

    LOLOL!!! I can just picture the scene from your description, and I had a very similar reaction to yours just reading this. Absolutely priceless.

    Love, Mom

  2. Really funny! However, I believe packed wet straw can ignite spontaneously. Be watchful.

  3. It can also sprout.

    But I'm glad to know that Wugo, I always place a bale of straw with pumpkins outside my front door. I'd hate for the house to catch fire if it rains. :)

    Georgia Brown

  4. Georgia,
    Just wet straw is unlikely to ignite. Urine in the straw supplies the ingredients to support fermentation, which is what produces heat.